November 10, 2006 - by
Seminoles Play Host To McNeese State In Capital Classic Sunday At 7:30

Nov. 10, 2006

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The Florida State men’s basketball team opens their 2006-07 season as they play host to the four-team Colonial Athletic Association Classic Nov. 12-14, 2006 at the Donald L. Tucker in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face McNeese State (Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.), Illinois State (Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m.) and Southern Methodist (Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m.). All six games in the classic are pre-determined with each of the four teams playing once a day. The first game of the session begins at 5:00 on all three days with the second game of the session beginning 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The Seminoles will then travel to play at the University of Pittsburgh in the final game of the Colonial Classic on Nov. 24. The Panthers are hosting a similar four-team classic – the First Commonwealth Colonial Athletic Association Classic – with Northeastern, Massachusetts and Oakland (Mich.) from Nov. 17-19.

Sunday Nov. 12               Monday Nov. 13                    Tuesday Nov. 14
Illinois St. vs. SMU         McNeese State vs. SMU             Illinois State vs. McNeese State
McNeese St. vs. Florida St.  Illinois State vs. Florida St.    SMU vs. Florida St.

Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton enters Sunday’s game against McNeese State looking to improve his record in season openers as Florida State’s head coach to 5-0. He has led the Seminoles to season-opening victories over Savannah State (Nov. 24, 2002; 79-46), Maine (Nov. 21, 2003; 69-49), Texas Southern (Nov. 19, 2004; 71-62) and Jacksonville (Nov. 19, 2005; 78-48).

Seminole Head Coaches In Season Openers
Coach                    Years     Overall in Openers    Record in First 5 Years
Don Loucks               1947      1-0                   1-0
J.K. "Bud" Kennedy       1948-66   9-9                   3-2
Hugh Durham              1966-78   12-0                  5-0
Joe Williams             1978-86   8-0                   5-0
Pat Kennedy              1986-97   10-1                  4-1
Steve Robinson           1997-02   2-3                   2-3
Leonard Hamilton         2003-Pr.  4-0                   Game 5 vs. McNeese State

Florida State has won 13 of its last 16 season openers dating to the opening game of the 1990-91 season. Entering Sunday’s game against McNeese State, the Seminoles have won each of their last three season openers when they have been at home.

Florida State In The First Game of the Season
Category                Record      Winning Percentage
Home Openers            41-1        .976
Road Openers            4-11        .333
Neutral Site Openers    1-1         .500
Season Openers          46-13       .780

…Florida State’s largest margin of victory in a season opener came in a 133-79 (+54) victory over UCF on Nov. 25, 1978. The 54-point victory stands as the seventh largest margin of victory in school history;
…The most points scored by a Seminoles’ opponent in a season opener is 97 by Georgia Southern in a 109-97 victory by Florida State to open the 1972-73 season on Dec. 1, 1973;
…The fewest number of points scored in a season opener was 39 against Spring Hill College in a 39-36 victory by Florida State to open the 1947-48 season on Dec. 10, 1947. That game was the first in the history of the Seminole men’s basketball program;
…Florida State has scored 100 points or more nine times in a season opener – most recently the Seminoles defeated Florida Atlantic, 110-59, to open the 1993-94 season on Dec. 1, 1993.

Fifth-year head coach Leonard Hamilton enters Sunday’s game against McNeese State looking to win his 12th consecutive season opener. He guided Florida State to a 78-48 victory over Jacksonville to begin the 2005-06 season. Hamilton has an 13-5 record (.722) during his collegiate career in season openers.

Hamilton Successful In Season Openers
Season     School               Opponent                       Outcome
1986-87    Oklahoma State       at Pepperdine                  L, 61-79
1987-88    Oklahoma State       at BYU-Hawaii                  L, 59-62
1988-89    Oklahoma State       at Pittsburgh                  L, 75-93
1989-90    Oklahoma State       at North Texas                 W, 94-66
1990-91    Miami                vs. George Mason               L, 91-97
1991-92    Miami                vs. Barry University           W, 80-67
1992-93    Miami                vs. Florida International      L, 64-72
1993-94    Miami                vs. Florida Atlantic           W, 85-53
1994-95    Miami                vs. NE Illinois                W, 66-48
1995-96    Miami                vs. NE Illinois                W, 81-58
1996-97    Miami                vs. Buffalo                    W, 78-61
1997-98    Miami                at Southern Illinois           W, 73-61
1998-99    Miami                at Florida Atlantic            W, 97-73
1999-00    Miami                at Central Florida             W, 81-54
2002-03    Florida State        vs. Savannah State             W, 79-46
2003-04    Florida State        vs. Maine                      W, 69-49
2004-05    Florida State        vs. Texas Southern             W, 71-62
2005-06    Florida State        vs. Jacksonville               W, 78-46

Junior guard Jason Rich scored 17 points and all five Florida State starters scored in doubles figures to lead the Seminoles to a 90-72 exhibition game victory over Spring Hill College at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles shot 58 percent and outscored the Badgers, 56-33, in the second half to gain the victory. Rich led the Seminoles’ starting five and was followed by All-America candidate Al Thornton’s 16 points, 12 from Isaiah Swann, 11 from Toney Douglas and 10 from Uche Echefu. Florida State roared back from a 39-34 halftime deficit and outscored the Badgers, 19-4, to open the second half. The Seminoles led by 10 at 53-43 after only 5:10 of the second half had been played. Spring Hill was led by guard Noah Woolridge who scored a game high 26 points on eight made 3-point field goals. The Seminoles played a solid second half in outscoring their opponents by 23 points. The Seminoles shot 57.9 percent (22 of 38) from the field, 36.4 percent (four of 11) from the 3-point line and 72.7 percent (eight of 11) from the free throw line. Florida State also cut down on their turnovers (12 in the first half and only eight in the second half), picked up on their defense (six second half steals) and limited Spring Hill to 30.6 percent (11 of 36) shooting from the field.

Florida State cruised to a 96-66 victory over Nova Southeastern Tuesday night in its final preseason exhibition at the Donald L. Tucker Center. All-America candidate Al Thornton scored 17 points to lead five Florida State players in double figure scoring as the Seminoles won both of their exhibition games. The Seminoles scored 39 points off 26 Nova Southeastern turnovers and led the entire game. Thornton had 17 points and 5 assists while Jason Rich scored 16 points for the Seminoles, who had five players score in double figures for the second of two exhibition games. Toney Douglas and Casaan Breeden added 13 points, and Isaiah Swann had 11. Donovan Redden led Nova Southeastern with 12 points and 5 assists. Florida State led 47-30 at halftime and outscored the Dolphins 49-36 after the break. The Seminoles shot 54.5 percent for the game and were credited with 21 assists on their 36 baskets. Florida State honored former player Aubrey Boyd at halftime. Boyd lettered at Florida State from 1988-1991, but in 1994 was paralyzed from the neck down after sustaining an injury while playing in a pickup football game. All proceeds from the game went to Boyd’s foundation.

F	#12	Al Thornton (16.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg in 05-06; Earned All-ACC 2nd Team Honors as junior)
F	#41     Uche Echefu (2.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg; in 05-06; Played in 29 of 30 games as an FSU freshman)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (8.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg in 05-06; Has played in 61 consec. Gms. entering 06-07)
G	#23	Toney Douglas (16.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg in 04-05; Transfer from Auburn and sat out 05-06)
G	#25	Jason Rich (10.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg in 05-06; Second leading returning scorer for FSU)
G	#10	Ralph Mims (3.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg in 05-06; Team leader in free throw pct. in last two seasons)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (3.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg in 05-06; Played in all 30 FSU games as a transfer in 06-07)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (2.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg; Played in 22 of 30 games as an FSU freshman on 05-06)
F	#42	Ryan Reid (Will play his first career collegiate game against McNeese State)

F	#24	John Pichon (0.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg in 05-06; Played in nine games as a freshman in 05-06)
F	#30	Aldryan Wardell (5.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg in 05-05; Played in 21 games and started seven in 05-06)
C	#3	Jarvis Bradley (5.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg in 05-06; Shot team-high .889 from FT line in 05-06)
G	#5	Troy Aaron (6.0 ppf, 2.9 rpg in 05-06; Shot .319 from 3PFG in 05-06)
G	#10	John Ford (9.1 ppg, 2.5 spg in 05-06; Shot .814 from FT line in 05-06)

The Series:                                First Meeting
Last Game:                                 First Meeting
Last Florida State Win:                    First Meeting
Last Jacksonville Win:                     First Meeting
Last Florida State Win In Tallahaseee:     First Meeting
Last McNeese State Win In Tallahassee:     First Meeting
Leonard Hamilton vs. McNeese State:        First Meeting

No.   Name              Pos.  Hgt.   Wgt.   Yr.    Hometown
3     Isaiah Swann      G     6-1    203    Jr.    Germantown, Md.
5     Josue Soto        G     6-0    165    Fr.    Jacksonville, Fla.
10    Ralph Mims        G     6-2    210    Jr.    Pensacola, Fla.
11    Jerel Allen       G     6-4    192    Sr.    Detroit, Mich.
12    Al Thornton       F     6-8    220    Sr.    Perry, Ga.
15    Casaan Breeden    F     6-8    200    So.    Bennettsville, S.C.
20    Aaron Holmes      G     6-5    180    Fr.    St. Petersburg, Fla.
23    Toney Douglas     G     6-4    196    So.    Jonesboro, Ga.
25    Jason Rich        G     6-3    200    Jr.    Pensacola, Fla.
31    Brian Hoff        G     6-6    192    So.    Jacksonville, Fla.
33    Matt Zitani       F     6-7    227    Jr.    Pt. St. Lucie, Fla.
41    Uche Echefu       F     6-9    220    So.    Lagos, Nigeria
42    Ryan Reid         F     6-8    232    Fr.    Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.

Florida State enters the 2006-07 season looking to win 20 games or more for the second consecutive season. The Seminoles won 20 games last season (20-10 overall record) and will play to win 20 or more games in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1991-92 (22-10/NCAA Sweet 16) and 1992-93 seasons (25-10/NCAA Elite 8). Florida State has won 20 or more games in consecutive seasons only twice in school history (1990-91 and 1991-92 / 1991-92 and 1992-93).

Florida State enters the 2006-07 season looking to make consecutive postseason appearances for the first time since the 1996-97 (NIT Championship Game, 4-1 record) and 1997-98 seasons (NCAA Second Round). The Seminoles advanced to the championship game of the 1997 postseason NIT with victories over Syracuse, Michigan State, West Virginia and Connecticut before falling to Michigan in the championship game. A year later, the Seminoles defeated Texas Christian in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament before falling to Valparaiso in the second round. Florida State made a school record three consecutive postseason appearances 1990-91 through the 1992-93 seasons.

Florida State has won nearly 75 percent of its games played at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center during Head Coach Leonard Hamilton’s first four seasons at Florida State. The Seminoles were 14-3 at home (.824 winning percentage) during the 2005-06 season with one of its victories coming against No. 1 ranked Duke (79-74, March 1, 2006). The Seminoles have now defeated seven teams ranked in the nation’s top 25 at home under Hamilton. The Seminoles are 30-5 (.857 winning percentage) in non-conference games under Hamilton in the last four seasons.

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